Are you training the wrong people?

12 Jun 2016 1:00 PMMike Bennett
Are you training the wrong people?

We've been involved in media training for many years (24 years to be precise!) and have had the good fortune to work with clients all over the world. While Angola and Equatorial Guinea are hardly at the top of your holiday destination list, they are places where we have learned as much from the participants as they have from us about culture, customs media and public expectations from a company spokesperson.

In Europe and the Asia Pacific regions, the CEO or MD would be expected to represent the company during a major incident, serious injury or loss of life but this is not the case in other parts of the world where it's not uncommon to see reception, security, front of house and contractors interviewed about the incident.

Working with the emergency services has shown that the chief fire officer may be a first class leader but less than confident in front of the camera and the same applies to all of the blues and twos.

There are many police constables who are far more articulate than the person in charge so it's important to look at who you are training. While we would always encourage your most senior management to take part in full scale media training just consider some basic media awareness training for the people who may encounter the news crews first.

Management will have 'left the building' as will your reception team so when the cameras are rolling, what response will they receive from your gatehouse staff who may not have been given as much as a media awareness session?

That hand in front of the lens accompanied by "no comment" will almost guarantee this story will be high on the news agenda for today and, add the odd push and shove to ensure that your controlled fire becomes the national lead story with the headline "Apocalyptic inferno" somewhere in the introduction! While we would always encourage your most senior management to take part in full scale media training just consider some basic media awareness training for the people who may encounter the news crews first.

While we're on the subject, who looks after the distressed relatives who turn up at your office or gate during a major incident? Just think back to MH370 and how Malaysian airlines security teams came across?

That's another story. . . . . . . .